Sinclair User

Return Of The Jedi
By Domark
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Sinclair User #82

Return of The Jedi

Another case of May The Farce Be With You. It's a bit late to convert the coin-op of George Lucas' third and least good Star Wars film - the coin-op itself hasn't been seen in the arcades since the year dot but being untopical has never bothered Domark. After all, Live and Let Die is ten years old. Never mind, perhaps the licenses are cheaper that way.

Still and all, as Darth Vader used to say, ROTOJ is a pretty good conversion of the coin-op, which abandoned the vector-graphics style of Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back for a more conventional solid-sprite concept. This was all well and good a few years ago, but it doesn't make for a machine-stretchingly radical conversion.

There are three sections to the game, each of which is basically a diagonally-scrolling dodge-and-shoot exercise, each featuring a famous sequence from the film. The first features a chase on speeder bikes, in which the furry, loveable Ewoks help you avoid the imperial stormtroopers; then there's a bit of a giggle with a Scout Walker, and a chase through the insides of the Death Star in the Millenium Falcon. In all three sections, the diagonal scrolling is good, but the graphics are completely unremarkable and the action is tediously predictable.

Return Of The Jedi

In part one, the speederbike chase you can barge your imperial pursuers into trees, or manoeuvre your way behind them and shoot them out of the saddle. The Ewoks lay traps into which you can lead the enemy; trip wires, hang-glider bombers and log traps which allow you through, but catch your pursuers. You can gain bonus points for braving these traps or shooting through the hollow logs. Pity you can't score points for bumping off the horrible Ewoks.

Part two, the flight through the Death Star, sees you pursued by T.I.E. fighters. You can't shoot them, so your only chance is to manoeuvre through the gridworks and pipes, hoping the imperials will smash themselves to bits before they shoot you down.

Reach the reactor and knock it out, and you flee the exploding Death Star just in front of a wave of fire.

Return Of The Jedi

The final phase involves a Scout Walker making its way through the forest, jumping over log traps and avoiding rolling boulders. This is perhaps the least good of the sections, because there's something wrong with the perspective of the Scout Walker's design.

There are three levels of difficulty, but no real excitement or challenge to make you want to carry on to the highest levels.

Overall, I think there are two things to be thankful for; one, there aren't any more games in the series; two, Domark doesn't have the licence for Ewoks: The Battle for Endor... YET!

Overall Summary

Faithful but uninspiring coin-op conversion.

Chris Jenkins

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